Falcao has improved since joining Manchester United – Filipe Luis

The Colombian’s former Atletico Madrid team-mate believes that the striker has become an even better player than when he was shining in La Liga for Diego Simeone’s side

Filipe Luis believes his former team-mate, Radamel Falcao, is a better player at Manchester United than he was at Atletico Madrid.

Falcao has only scored one goal since joining United at the start of September but Filipe Luis says that the Colombian striker – who starred with him for Los Rojiblancos until summer 2013 – is stronger than when he scored a hat-trick against Chelsea in the 2012 Uefa Super Cup.

The Blues man considers Falcao to be “the best in the world with his head”, while noting that the 28-year-old has an insatiable hunger for goals ahead of Sunday’s clash between United and Chelsea at Old Trafford.

“Falcao is a better striker now than he was at Atletico for sure. He was injured and changed clubs so he wants more. He is not resting right now. He is a tiger and wants to score more,” the Brazilian defender told the London Evening Standard.

“I enjoyed playing alongside him at Atletico for a lot of games. I remember him in the Super Cup, he scored a hat-trick in about 30 minutes [against Chelsea] but he did a lot of good performances in Atletico and had a lot of good seasons there.

“He is a brilliant striker. He fights for every ball and is probably the best in the world with his head. I know it’s going to be difficult but not just against Falcao – United have a lot of good players.

“Will I give my team-mates any special advice on how to stop him? No. Our team is prepared for anything, not only Falcao. Manchester United have a lot of dangerous players. We have to be prepared.

“But Falcao is the kind of player that never wants to stop scoring, he has a lot of ambition to be the best striker. I think Manchester United have made a great acquisition and he is going to be an important player in England.”

Calhanoglu, Sterling and Berardi included on 2014 Golden Boy shortlist

The trio have been included on a 40 strong list of candidates who have been nominated for the award, with past winners including Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero

Bayer Leverkusen youngster Hakan Calhanoglu, Liverpool star Raheem Sterling and Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi are among the names on a 40-man shortlist for the 2014 Golden Boy award.

The award recognises footballers under the age of 21 who are bursting with talent, with many on the list having enjoyed breakthrough years that have seen them make decisive contributions for their clubs.

Calhanoglu’s excellent performances for Hamburg saw him earn a summer move to Leverkusen in the summer, while Sterling has made a great contribution to his side’s excellent year and has also been heavily involved for England.

Berardi has been in fine form since kicking of 2014 with a magnificent showing in their 4-3 win over AC Milan the highlight. The forward has started the current campaign well, too, having scored two and set up two in four league games.

Paris Saint-Germain youngster Adrien Rabiot, Juventus’ Kingsley Coman, Sevilla’s Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu and PSV’s Jetro Willems are all included in the strong list of candidates for the accolade.

The award, established by Tuttosport in 2003 and voted for by journalists at major newspapers across Europe, is handed to the player under the age of 21 who is deemed to have been the most outstanding performer over the calendar year.

Previous recipients include Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney, Sergio Aguero, Cesc Fabregas and Mario Balotelli. Last year’s winner was Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba.

THE LIST IN FULL: Nabil Bentaleb (Tottenham), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Franco Bernardeschi (Fiorentina), Bruma (Galatasaray), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen), Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Kingsley Coman (Juventus), Gerard Deulofeu (Sevilla), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Gianluca Gaudino (Bayern Munich), Mathias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Derlis Gonzalez (Basel), Julian Green (Hamburg), Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Bayern Munich), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United), Keita Balde Diao (Lazio), Mateo Kovacic (Inter), Aymeric Laporte (Athletic Bilbao), Lazar Markovic (Liverpool), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Benjamin Mendy (Marseille), Maximilian Meyer (Schalke), Arkadiusz Milik (Ajax), Aleksandr Mitrovic (Anderlecht), Munir El Haddai (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Nikola Ninkovic (Partizan Belgrade), Lucas Ocampos (Monaco), Divock Origi (Lille), Denis Praet (Anderlecht), Adrien Rabiot (Paris Saint-Germain), Sandro Ramirez (Barcelona), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), John Stones (Everton), Oliver Torres (Porto), Tonny Vilhena (Feyenoord), Jetro Willems (PSV), Luka Zahovic (Maribor), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)

Manchester United-Chelsea Preview: Costa battling to be fit for Old Trafford encounter

The Brazilian-born Spaniard returned from international duty nursing a groin problem and has also been hospitalised with a virus but still might feature on Sunday

Diego Costa is battling to be fit in time to help Chelsea to try to maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League season against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Costa returned from international duty with Spain nursing a groin problem and has also been hospitalised with a virus this week, though boss Jose Mourinho suggested on Friday that his star striker has a “little chance” of featuring against United.

And Louis van Gaal, whose Red Devils lie sixth after a decidedly mixed start to the season, would not be surprised to see Costa’s name on the Chelsea team sheet on Sunday afternoon.

“I think that Jose shall play with him when he can because he wants to win,” the Dutchman told reporters.

“Of course he can play, maybe, because he has trained individually. I have heard and read on the websites. I also have my eyes always open.

“He’s scored nine [goals] out of seven [games] – that is remarkable so he’s in good shape, I think, but he was ill [on Thursday] so you never know.”

Chelsea hold a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League after claiming seven wins and a draw from their fine start to the season. United sit 10 points behind, having already tasted defeat against Swansea City and Leicester City, and Van Gaal acknowledges that his side face a stiff challenge on Sunday.

“Chelsea are one of the top teams, I think also Manchester City are at the moment,” he added.

“Jose has worked more than one year already with his team and last year they didn’t win any prizes so you have to build up and he has built up Chelsea. They are playing like a team and I want my team to do that as well but to play for 90 minutes.

“We did that against West Brom [on Monday in a 2-2 draw], played as a team, but we also made individual errors. That was our problem.”

United will again be without captain Wayne Rooney as he completes a three-game suspension, while Michael Carrick (ankle) remains short of match fitness, though talisman Angel Di Maria has been passed fit following a thigh injury scare.

Loic Remy has been ruled out for Chelsea after picking up a groin injury in a midweek Champions League rout of Maribor, leaving veteran Didier Drogba the likely man to lead the line from the start, though Andre Schurrle is also back in the squad.

Mourinho was content to play it safe when settling for a goalless draw at Old Trafford early last season but insists that he wants a win this time around.

“We are playing well, we are confident, we are top of the league and we are in a good position to qualify in the Champions League,” he declared to reporters. ”The camp is happy and we are ready for the game.

“We go to every match to win but sometimes during a game a point is a positive point and a positive result. Last year, at a certain moment the game was very difficult to win and I think both teams accepted the point as a normal result.

“On Sunday we go to win. If you give me one point now – and we don’t have to play the game – I will not accept it. I want to fight for the three points.”

Pique: I want to retire at Barcelona

Manchester United have been linked with a €25 million move for their former charge as they look to bolster their defence but the 27-year-old insists he is happy in Catalonia

Gerard Pique has dismissed talk that he is unhappy at Barcelona, insisting he wants to retire at Camp Nou.

Recent reports had suggested that Manchester United are lining up a €25 million move for the centre-back, who spent four frustrating years at Old Trafford before returning to Catalunya in 2008 to play a key role in Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona side.

But despite being criticised in some quarters for his performances at Camp Nou this season and flattered by the transfer speculation, Pique is adamant that he has no desire to leave his boyhood club and go back to England.

“I was really happy and left a lot of friends [in Manchester], even if I didn’t play as much as I’d wanted, but I’ve always said I want to stay here all my career and retire at Barcelona,” he told reporters.

“At Manchester United I had Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic ahead of me, players who were never injured, never red carded … f**king hard [to dislodge] but this is the first time at Barcelona I’m not playing as much as I want to.

“A lot of people say: ‘Pique is not fit or not playing well’ but Pique is really playing well. After the World Cup I admitted I maybe hadn’t been at my level but, in pre-season, I worked really hard and I’m really happy about my performances during the season.

“At the moment I’m not thinking about leaving. I’m really happy if it’s true that United want me but I’m a Barcelona fan, I have been since I was a kid. I want to stay here.”

Van Persie just 'unlucky' not to score – Van Gaal

The Manchester United striker has netted only twice for his club so far in 2014-15 but came close against West Brom and his manager expects him to be rewarded for good play soon

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal feels that bad luck has been behind Robin van Persie’s slow start to the season.

The Netherlands international has scored just twice for United in 2014-15, putting him under pressure to retain his place in the team.

United captain Wayne Rooney returns from a three-game suspension for the Manchester derby, meaning that Sunday’s clash against Chelsea could be Van Persie’s last chance to keep hold of his starting spot, but Van Gaal expects the 31-year-old to get back to scoring ways.

He told the press of the forward: “He’s a little bit unlucky, like against West Brom when he shot with his right foot – it was hard to believe that that shot stayed out of the goal.

“So a striker needs also a bit of luck and then the confidence is higher but he’s self-confident so I expect he shall score and maybe against Chelsea.”

Despite being under an injury cloud, Van Persie scored four goals at the World Cup this summer as the Dutch, coached by Van Gaal, finished third and his boss says that he is now in better shape than that.

“I think he is more fit than ever,” Van Gaal continued. “He doesn’t score so much. In the Dutch team he has scored more than now for Manchester United and then he was not so fit as now.

“That’s remarkable but he scored in [almost] every game for me in the World Cup in spite of maybe his 80 per cent fitness. He scored four goals out of six games and then also a penalty so maybe now he is playing better but doesn’t score as much.

“Every striker has to be at the attacking point. He has to play with the other 10 players. That is also important. That he is now doing better than in Dutch team.”